Friday, November 13, 2009

The Swans-Filth/Body to Body, Job to Job (1982-85/2000)

"Since Swans demise in 1997, Michael Gira has meticulously re-packaged exactly what he wants to preserve of Swans 15 year legacy via double cd re-issues, this being the fourth and final one. This set couples the long out print 1983 debut album Filth and the 1982-85 studio out takes and live recording collection Body to Body, Job to Job. In addition is a previously unreleased 25 minute live show in NYC from 1982/3 and a 9 minute live version of "Raping a Slave" from 1984. Noticeably missing are the four songs from the debut s/t EP from 1982.

"Swans always had the potential for brutal sonic assaults throughout their life span but this era in particular focused solely on an uncompromising and unapologetic, sledge hammer sound. Melody and harmony are essentially absent in favor of pounding percussion, raw slabs of guitar and bass sound and Gira's guttural vocals. Lyrically Gira reels against authority and control, money, sex, violence, etc. with simple, receptive slogan like chants. Altogether it's a big, ugly, intense, slowed down mutant strain of punk rock that was all their own, at least, up until everyone started copying them. The 25 minute live show (indexed as 1 track) on the Filth disc is bootleg quality but in this case it doesn't much matter as it's comparable to, and just as interesting as, the numerous rare live recordings on the Body to Body disc.

It's a bit of a challenge to listen to all of one disc at a time, much less the entire 2 hours and 15 minutes, but for those days when you get a traffic ticket, you're doing your taxes, you hate your job, your significant other leaves you or you just plain hate everything ... this is your soundtrack. Say what you will about Gira's track selection for these re-issues but he certainly did a great job of creating a great looking and sounding set of discs for old and new fans alike"

Some of the vilest, heaviest music ever put to tape. This two disc set documents their years as a snarling, fearsome beast of a band that pretty much laid the foundation for plodding, terrifying music. I couldn't possibly convey the ferocity of this band if you paid me. One of my all time favorite bands during my favorite period of theirs. Do yourself a favor. Be Hard. Two parts. Go.

Be strong (Filth) Be hard (Body to Body, Job to Job)

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